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Find Your Meaningful Metaphor

Metaphors enable us to achieve personal and professional success.


My brother-in-law is a little hard of hearing. Over the telephone, my parting wish for him was, “Great big hugs,” to which he responded, “What?”

I repeated, “Great big hugs” and heard “Huh?” I dug deep and found my big voice and said for the third time, “Great big hugs!” He laughed, saying, “Wow, you know just what I want for Christmas!”

I am still not certain that he heard me, but great big hugs for Christmas fits well within my budget!

Giving someone a hug over the telephone is ‘the gift of metaphor.’

I doubt that few family and friends will be content with metaphors as their Christmas presents, but a meaningful metaphor is one of the more useful gifts you can give to yourself.

Metaphors enable us to achieve personal and professional success.

Tell me, what is your metaphor for work?

If you don’t have a metaphor, then help yourself to finding one. Start by thinking of a symbol that holds special meaning to you.

Next, take it from the conceptual to the concrete, by producing it into something you can see, hold or smell.

For example, a simple stone holds special meaning to me, the power of being heard. A stone is my life metaphor. I have stones in the console of my car, stones in my purse, stones on top of my desk, and most importantly, I carry a polished stone in my pant pocket each day.

The stone literally holds weight, reminding me of its story, “Whoever holds the stone, has voice.” Even though I know that every person has a story to tell, I need a gentle and ongoing reminder to shut up and listen.

Putting a metaphor to work is one of the simplest things you can do to help yourself focus on the stuff that matters most.

Metaphorical thinking is a creative thinking technique as old as the stones and as generous as great big hugs.

Remember, a life metaphor doesn’t need to be unique. It just needs to hold a significant message for you.



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